In a first in India, a person who reached Kerala three days ago from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has developed symptoms of Monkeypox, state health minister Veena George said on Thursday.
Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease with symptoms similar to smallpox, although with less clinical severity.
“It is suspected that one person is infected with Monkeypox. The person under observation reached Kerala from UAE three days back. After he developed symptoms of the disease, his samples were sent to the Virology Institute in Pune. The final results are expected by Thursday evening,” the minister said.
So far, there are no reported cases of monkeypox virus in India. As of July 11, the US had reported nearly 800 cases of the viral disease, whereas the global tally stands at over 8,200 cases across 57 countries.
Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 in colonies where monkeys were kept for research, hence the name. The monkeypox virus comes from the same family of viruses as smallpox, belonging to the orthopoxvirus genus in the family poxviridae.
According to the World Health Organization, in the present series of outbreaks being reported, this is the first time that chains of transmission are witnessed in Europe without known epidemiological links to West or Central Africa. Monkeypox has been reported as endemic in several other central and western African countries such as Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, and Sierra Leone.
This has also been reported in certain non-endemic countries like the USA, UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Canada, Austria, Canary Islands, Israel and Switzerland.